Chris Atkinson

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For the footballer, see Chris Atkinson (footballer).
Chris Atkinson
Chris Atkinson 2006 Rally Australia Dwellingup.jpg
Atkinson at the Telstra Rally Australia 2006
Personal information
Nationality Australia Australian
Born (1979-11-30) 30 November 1979 (age 34)
Bega, New South Wales, Australia
World Rally Championship record
Active years 2001 – 2009 , 2012 – 2014
Teams Subaru World Rally Team, Citroën Junior Team, Monster World Rally Team, WRC Team Mini Portugal, Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT, Hyundai Shell World Rally Team
Rallies 73
Championships 0
Rally wins 0
Podiums 6
Stage wins 41
Total points 161
First rally 2004 Rally New Zealand

Chris Atkinson (born 30 November 1979) in Bega, New South Wales, Australia) is a professional rally driver. In the WRC (World Rally Championship), he drove for the Subaru World Rally Team from 2004 to 2008. His best finish on an individual WRC event is second, which he achieved at the 2008 Rally México and Rally Argentina. Other podium placings include third place finishes at the 2005 Rally Japan and the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally.

Atkinson is currently driving for Team MRF, and will compete in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 2012 as well as making a guest appearance in the World Rally Championship. Atkinson won the 2012 Asia Pacific Rally Championship.[1]

On 16 August 2012 it was announced that Atkinson would be the number one driver for the WRC Team Mini Portugal outfit for the last five races of the 2012 WRC season.[2]

Early career[edit]

Prior to his motorsport career, Atkinson had a career as a stockbroker. He graduated at Bond University in commerce, majoring in finance and accounting in 1999 after receiving an academic scholarship for studies. Atkinson was a co-driver for his brother Ben, but after attending a rally school with his brother, the pair swapped positions, scoring a class win and third overall.[3][4] Currently, his brother Ben Atkinson is a co-driver for Cody Crocker in APRC.

For his first full season of competition, Atkinson contested the Australian Rally Championship aboard a privately entered Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, finishing inside the top ten in Group N and in the overall top 20 on every round he contested, as well as setting two second-fastest stage times. The Atkinsons finished ninth outright to become Privateer Champions. This performance brought Atkinson to the attention of Suzuki, who offered him the opportunity to drive one of its Super 1600 Ignis models with the Suzuki Sport team in the 2003 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Atkinson rewarded the team with a class win in the opening round of the championship in Canberra. Next came a second place in New Zealand, a second in Japan and two wins in Thailand and India, culminating in Atkinson winning the Super 1600 title. He finished fifth in the overall championship, ahead of many more powerful, four-wheel-drive, turbo-charged cars.

WRC career[edit]

Atkinson at the 2006 Rally Japan.

Atkinson's first world rally was the 2004 Rally New Zealand in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. For 2005, he was signed by Subaru World Rally Team to drive the Subaru Impreza WRC alongside 2003 world champion Petter Solberg. He finished 12th overall in the drivers' world championship with 13 points. His best results were third in Japan and fourth in Australia.

Atkinson at the 2006 Cyprus Rally.

After finishing the 2006 season tenth overall in the drivers championship with 20 points and a fourth place as his best finish, Subaru told Atkinson that his job was on the line, and if he could not balance his speed with safety and achieve quality results he would be replaced by another driver.

Atkinson-Prevot at Monte-Carlo 2008

At the start of the 2007 season Atkinson finished fourth at the 2007 Rally Monte Carlo, recording three stage wins. On the final day of the rally, Atkinson was 0.8 seconds behind fourth place man Mikko Hirvonen and had to beat him in the super special stage, a 2.4 km run through Monaco which uses part of the world famous Formula One course. Hirvonen set a time of 1:50.9 meaning that Atkinson had to at least set a time of 1:50.1 to beat him, but Atkinson did better and took the stage win with a time of 1:49.9. Hirvonen was the first person over to Atkinson to congratulate him.

At the 2007 Rally Finland, Atkinson posted the fastest time on the short opening super special stage on a horse-racing course at Killeri, to lead the rally for a short time. Atkinson finished the 2007 season seventh overall in the drivers' world championship.

At the beginning of the 2008 season, Atkinson took third place in Monte Carlo; while at the 2008 Corona Rally Mexico, Atkinson managed second, 30 seconds ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala. He finished the season fifth in the drivers' standings, and for the first time, outscored hitherto team leader Solberg.

After Subaru's season-ending announcement of its withdrawal from the WRC, Atkinson signed for the new Citroën Junior Team for the 2009 season.[5] In his only rally for the season with the team in Ireland, he produced a strong showing to finish fifth, despite colliding with a telegraph pole during the first day, and suffering a spin on SS18.

Re-entry into WRC (2012)[edit]

After signing with Monster World Rally Team in 2012, Atkinson raced alongside Ken Block in Mexico. Atkinson won a stage, SS12 - Leon Super Special but finished with a DNF due to mechanical failure.

Atkinson also signed up for a one-off drive in a Citroën DS3 WRC for the Qatar World Rally Team for Rally Finland.[6] However, his medium term WRC future was granted when it was announced he would replace Armindo Araujo as the lead driver for the factory-backed WRC Team MINI Portugal in the last five rallies of the 2012 season.[2]

Atkinson contested the last five rounds of the 2012 WRC season with the Motorsport Italia-run MINI squad to finish the year 13th in the Championship. His best result for the year was achieved at Rallye Deutschland (Rally Germany) where he secured 5th behind the wheel of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC.

Proton R3 Rally Team[edit]

In April 2010, Chris Atkinson began a partnership with the Proton R3 Rally Team. Competing in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Atkinson drove a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000, alongside co-driver Stephane Prevot. Also driving for the Proton R3 Rally Team was former WRC driver Alister McRae.

After making a guest appearance at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Monte Carlo Rally, Atkinson has dominated the 2011 APRC, winning the Malaysian Rally, Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonia and the International Rally of Whangarei. However missing round two in Queensland and the final round in Hokkaido saw him finish second to his team mate Alister McRae who competed in all rounds.

MRF Skoda Rally Team[edit]

Chris Atkinson compete in an Australian-run Skoda in the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Atkinson drove for the MRF team in a Skoda Fabia S2000, co-driven by regular wingman Stephane Prevot and the pair were crowned 2012 FIA Asia PAcific Rally Champions. This becomes the Gold Coaster's first, and biggest, international motorsport crown, captured amongst a raft of extremely competitive rallying talent from across the globe.

"It's an awesome feeling to take the APRC title after a great year with the MRF Skoda team," said Atkinson. "There's a great lineup of drivers from around the world competing in the championship this season so I'm extremely proud to be flying the Aussie flag high for everyone back home."

Atkinson’s Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot picked up the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship for Co-Drivers with Skoda winning the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Cup for Manufacturers and Team MRF the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship - Teams Trophy. The year was a solid one for Atkinson with two wins from five events including victory at his home event, the Brakes Direct Rally Queensland, in May. It was a busy year for Atkinson with dual rallying commitments having him compete in the APRC and WRC, which this year forced the 32-year-old to miss APRC Rally Japan in September. Despite the absence from Japan, Atkinson's performances on the remaining five rallies were strong enough to secure Skoda's first ever Asia Pacific Rallying title since the Championship’s inception back in 1988.

"It's been a busy last half of the season but thanks to a great team at Race Torque and huge support from Skoda Australia and Brakes Direct we were able to bring our A game all year and produce the ultimate result." Atko added. "I also have to thank my family, friends and of course my fans who have shown massive support all year for both the APRC and WRC programs."[citation needed]

Atkinson joins an illustrious list of former APRC champions including the likes of Carlos Sainz, Possum Bourne and Rod Millen amongst others.

Circuit Racing[edit]

At the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 2006, Chris made his circuit racing debut driving a Subaru Impreza for the Autosportif Racing UK placing second in class.[7] From that lead a drive in the 2007 Bathurst 12 Hour again in a Subaru Impreza where he finished first in class and second outright. In 2009 he competed in the third round of the Australian Mini Challenge co-driving with two-time Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series Champion Steve Owen finishing second in the 30-minute endurance race.[8]

Complete WRC results[edit]

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
2004 Chris Atkinson Subaru Impreza WRX STI MON SWE MEX NZL
Ret
CYP GRE TUR ARG FIN
33
GER GBR ITA FRA ESP AUS
5
16th 4
Suzuki Ignis S1600 JPN
12
2005 Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC2004 MON SWE
19
12th 13
Subaru Impreza WRC2005 MEX
Ret
NZL
7
ITA
18
CYP
10
TUR
24
GRE
Ret
ARG
9
FIN
Ret
GER
11
GBR
38
JPN
3
FRA
Ret
ESP
9
AUS
4
2006 Subaru Rally Team Australia Subaru Impreza WRC2005 MON
6
ESP
11
FRA
13
GER
8
10th 20
Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC2006 SWE
11
MEX
7
ARG
6
ITA
10
GRE
11
FIN
13
JPN
4
CYP
9
TUR
6
AUS
9
NZL
Ret
GBR
6
2007 Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC2006 MON
4
SWE
8
NOR
19
7th 31
Subaru Impreza WRC2007 MEX
5
POR
Ret
ARG
7
ITA
10
GRE
6
FIN
4
GER
15
NZL
4
ESP
8
FRA
6
JPN
Ret
IRE
42
GBR
7
2008 Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC2007 MON
3
SWE
21
MEX
2
ARG
2
JOR
3
ITA
6
5th 50
Subaru Impreza WRC2008 GRE
Ret
TUR
13
FIN
3
GER
6
NZL
Ret
ESP
7
FRA
6
JPN
4
GBR
Ret
2009 Citroën Junior Team Citroën C4 WRC IRE
5
NOR CYP POR ARG ITA GRE POL FIN AUS ESP GBR 14th 4
2012 Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC MON SWE MEX
Ret
POR ARG GRE NZL 13th 28
Qatar World Rally Team Citroën DS3 WRC FIN
39
WRC Team Mini Portugal Mini John Cooper Works WRC GER
5
GBR
11
FRA
8
ITA
6
ESP
7
2013 Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT Citroën DS3 WRC MON SWE MEX
6
POR ARG GRE ITA FIN GER AUS FRA ESP GBR 16th 8
2014 Hyundai Shell World Rally Team Hyundai i20 WRC MON SWE MEX
7
POR ARG ITA POL FIN GER AUS FRA ESP GBR 15th* 7*

* Season in progress.

APRC results[edit]

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 APRC Points
2003 Suzuki Sport Suzuki Ignis S1600 AUS
4
NZL
Ret
JPN
3
THA
5
IND
6
5th 18
2004 Monster Sport Australia Suzuki Ignis S1600 AUS
4
NCL
3
NZL
6
JPN
2
CHI
Ret
IND 5th 27
2010 Proton R3 Malaysia Proton Satria Neo S2000 MAL
4
JPN
Ret
NZL
Ret
AUS
Ret
NCL IDN CHN
2
5th 48
2011 Proton Motorsport Proton Satria Neo S2000 MAL
1
AUS
Ret
NCL
1
NZL
1
JPN
Ret
CHN
2
2nd 139
2012 MRF Tyres Škoda Fabia S2000 NZL
1
NCL
2
AUS
1
MYS
2
JPN CHN
2
1st 154

Career highlights[edit]

Atkinson and co-driver Glenn MacNeall in their Subaru Impreza WRC2006 during the 2006 Cyprus Rally.
  • 2012 - Winner, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
  • 2011 - 2nd, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
  • 2010 - 5th, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
  • 2009 - 14th, World Rally Championship
  • 2008 - 5th, World Rally Championship
  • 2007 - 7th, World Rally Championship
  • 2006 - 10th, World Rally Championship
  • 2005 - 12th, World Rally Championship
  • 2004 - Winner, Asia Pacific Super 1600 Championship
  • 2004 - Second, Australian Rally Championship
  • 2003 - Winner, Asia Pacific Super 1600 Championship
  • 2002 - Winner, Australian Privateers Cup
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Alister McRae
Asia-Pacific Rally Champion
2012
Succeeded by
Gaurav Gill

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crash.net - Atkinson wins APRC title Retrieved 29th of October 2012
  2. ^ a b "Chris Atkinson secures factory MINI WRC drive". AUSmotive.com. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Bond University - Community Newsletter, February 2006". Enews.bond.edu.au. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  5. ^ "Atko joins Citroen". RallySportMag.com.au. 2008-12-25. Retrieved 25 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "Atkinson secures Citroën drive for Rally Finland". AUSmotive.com. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Motorsports | Subaru Global". Subaru-msm.com. 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  8. ^ http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?12/07/2009.TVSC.R7

External links[edit]